ICS 60: Computer Games and Society

Assignment Prompt

Games are created for purposes other than entertainment. Games can be used to educate, to train out-of-game skills, or to persuade the player of a point of view or to change a behavior. At the same time, games can be used to sell products or to exploit labor. Games are increasingly being used to change both players and the world around them.

For this assignment, find and play a single persuasive, educational, or serious game computer. This can be a game we talked about in class, one referenced in the readings, or any other game (links to such games can be found on Wikipedia or at the Serious Games or Games for Change websites, among other places). If you are not sure whether a game you want to write about falls into this category, ask the instructor in advance.

Write a critique of this game, discussing and evaluating whether it succeeds as a game and/or as a tool for social change. Is it a "good" game (you can provide your own definition here)? Is this game capable of changing the world in a positive way? Why or why not?

Your essay should introduce and explain the game, including what makes it more than simply entertainment (the game's agenda). Include in your essay the name of the game, the name of the creator/publisher, and the year of release. Your paper should make a clear and specific argument (including a thesis) about the game's effectiveness as a game as as a tool for change. Support this argument with specific examples gathered from a close reading of the game. Also support your position using theories and references from the class.

Characteristics of a Good Critique



Your essay should be around 800 words in length. Please use a standard, business-like font, size 10 or 12 pt. At the top of the paper, include your name and UCInetID. Including a title for the essay is optional (but recommended!). You may include any images you deem necessary.

Your essay should not have footnotes or a references section. If you quote one of the readings, use the format (Turkle 1995) to cite it in text. If you refer to another work (which is not required but is welcome), cite it in text using a format similar to (Ross, J., 2011, "Secrets of citing references", Journal of Made-Up Papers).

This essay is due at 5pm on Fri Sep 02. It should be uploaded to the "Essay 3" DropBox on EEE in .pdf format. This essay is worth 20% of the course grade.

Scoring Rubric